Bascombe sticks to her guns

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CHARLOTTE Bascombe is nursing a sore thumb. It came between a flying ball and a hockey stick, only to then be called upon to break the subsequent fall. Now it is swathed in bandages, and looking pretty sorry for itself.

Bascombe, though, is having none of that. "It’s not too bad at the moment," she reflected at the end of the week. "I’m pretty good with pain, to be honest. It happened in the inter-district competition; it was a bit of a rough tournament, and I got ball to thumb. Then I fell on it and tore the ligaments. But it’s okay. I’ve broken hundreds of fingers."

The 17-year-old schoolgirl’s attempts to play down the injury are understandable. Yesterday she was due to take part in trials for the national team, and today she is desperate to fulfil another big engagement: playing for her club, MIM, in the under-18s Scottish Cup final. In this, she is seeking to play in her fifth consecutive final - she started playing for the under-18s when she was barely a teenager - of a tournament that has already given her four winners’ medals. "I’ll play whatever," was her defiant refrain as the big day approached.

There is more to Bascombe than her accomplishments with a hockey stick. If yesterday’s trial sees her called up to the national team, then she will become a triple international, having already represented Scotland at cricket and lacrosse. She moved to Edinburgh from Yorkshire five years ago, just in time to start secondary school, but sorry to leave her cricket behind.

"I was playing for the county’s under-15s girls’ team, but cricket wasn’t on the same scale up here, so it was a case of playing with much older people. But I joined MIM, and got more and more involved with hockey.

"Cricket is really up and coming, and there are some other girls playing now, but it’s not like it is in Yorkshire. None of my school-mates play. They think it’s a bizarre sport; like watching paint dry."

Bascombe first played cricket for Scotland when she was 14. Now she plays for the full Scotland team as well as the under-21s. And she is enthusiastic about the prospects for the women’s game. "There is huge scope for Scotland to play countries like Japan, Pakistan, the West Indies, Australia, England, Holland, Ireland. Women’s cricket has progressed so much - you can see leaps in improvement. We just need to get more playing."

Her choice of university has been influenced largely by what sporting opportunities it might offer. Durham is her preference. "It offers me cricket, hockey and lacrosse, all at a high level."

Though she is an international, lacrosse barely gets a look in at the moment. "I don’t play for a club because I don’t have time." Currently she pursues lacrosse on one evening, and hockey four. On Saturday mornings she plays hockey for her school, St George’s, and then a second match, for MIM, in the afternoon. Sundays see her training with her club, or playing cricket if it’s summer.

"I juggle. I can just about do everything. I’d never played lacrosse, but I was given the chance by the school, so I thought, why not? They put me forward for the district and, to be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting anything. Then I got selected for a Scotland trial, but I thought there was no chance of me getting in. When I got selected, I was gobsmacked."

If she becomes a triple international, one ambition remains. "I’m a big Premiership fan, and I follow Chelsea. I’ve asked to go to a match for my 18th. I’d love to play sport professionally. If I was a man and I could play football I’d say: ‘Yes, bring it on.’ I know I need to go to university and get a career, but I’ll snap up every opportunity I can."